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tmjpain
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 7:04 AM (GMT -7)   
I have chronic pain. I have terrible headaches on a daily basis. The headaches are bilateral and  in the temple area. Ice is what helps the pain. I have recently been put on Oxycontin by my pain specialist. Tramadol doesn't help. I am not finding much difference in the pain level yet. How long will it take!! Now the pills are making me feel wonky!! I have found a dentist who specializes in TMJ and he says he can help me. It will be three more weeks before i get the mouthguard and another month before it works to help with these headaches. This chronic pain road is difficult and it is the second time round with my tmj disorder. The first being in 2002-03. Can anyone help me??

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/14/2008 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I have TMJ as well from a ski injury. Luckily mine doesn't flare all that often but when it does, boy do I know the pain. I have never been given pain pills for it and I cant take NSAIDs because of my crohns. What has helped me more than anything is going to a chiropractor. This was at my dentists suggestion. Lots of TMJ is caused by underlying neck injuries and there is often scar tissue there too. The ultrasound the chiro uses helps a lot. Mine also can do accupuncture. I haven't had that yet but she showed me pressure points on my legs to push that help relieve the pain. Lay flat on your back with your arms at your side. Where your longest finger ends, at the center of your leg, push as hard as you can until it hurts. Also, if you have someone in your life who can massage your neck this also helps a lot. Best wishes!


27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 10/14/2008 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear tmj,
Welcome to the HW forum. I'm a little surprised that your pm doc went from tramadol to oxycontin. There are steps in between - like using a shorter acting medication like vicodin. That may allow you to adjust the dose a little easier, and minimize side effects. I've only had tmj issues minimally and it isn't the cause of my chronic pain. Are the headaches something you get only with the tmj flares, or do you have other types of chronic pain? Because if you only get occasional flares, this may not technically be chronic but acute pain. And waiting a few weeks while I know it seems like forever, really isn't when you think about it. It will pass. Again, if that's the only pain you have. I know when I had gum surgery many years ago the main thing that helped was ice. I'd keep putting fresh ice packs on and after awhile it numbed things. You seem to have already found that out. If you can afford a massage that could help relax the muscles around your head and neck to get you through the next few weeks.

Good luck!

PaLady

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 10/14/2008 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
sounds like you found a really good dentist.
I have an occusal splint & it really helps. I'm not sure what the average was, but mine started making a HUGE difference after a few days (3 maybe). It took a couple nights to get used to wearing it, but once I got over that I wasn't waking up with headaches anymore. I still get them when I skip a night (usually b/c I forgot to pack my splint when traveling), but other than that I'm substantially better.

For me, heat worked best. Maybe try experimenting with heat & ice to see what works for you. Also, massaging the area around the jaw helps. If you haven't given up chewing gum or other chewy food items, I would recommend doing so until you have had your splint for a while (now I can chew gum every day without probs, but it probably took a 3+ months with the splint before I could do so). It wouldn't hurt me while I was actually chewing, but I was surprised how much better my morning headaches got once I gave it up.

Another crazy thing, I read an article in a Walgreen's pamphlet that said sometimes headaches can be related to cold feet. I make sure to sleep in warm woolly socks (or cotton in the summer) & switched to heavier socks in the day. I also soak my feet in warm water before bed. It sounds crazy, but it does help. I don't know what will work for you, just trying to throw out some ideas. I know how miserable I used to be & I really feel for you.

take care,
frances

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 10:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes this is my only pain. This started 8 years ago. I have done tons of conservative treatments and some!!! So what else is there after Tramadol and before oxycontin?? I would have thought he would know what to prescribe. Nothing seems to help with my pain. Even demerol and percocet are ineffective. We tried botox and dex. injections and no help so he said no more injections
I have weekly massages and chiro. Anyone else suffer from tmj headaches? Can you list some pain meds for me.

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 10/14/2008 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I had tramadol (Ultracet), but also was on Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) with it.
Maybe some type of muscle relaxant would help. I don't know if you've already tried that.

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 11:06 AM (GMT -7)   
muscle relaxants and anti anflammatories don't help

i am just new here and I was wondering if there is somewhere in my profile to set that I get an email if there has been a repsonse to a thread that I have posted in??

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 10/14/2008 11:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Tmj,
Now that you mention percocet and demerol, I can see that your doctor has tried other things. Percocet is oxycodone with tylenole in it. Oxycontin is oxycodone, but with an extended release component. So that makes sense now that your doctor is trying that.

As far as your question about the e-mail response, if when you reply you click the "post reply" button (rather than just typing in the quick reply box) there will be choices underneath your reply, one of which asks if you want to be notified of responses to your posts by e-mail. Check that box. I have seen sometimes that occasionally others report it doesn't work. Give it a try.

PaLady

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 2:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes I have tried several meds out there. I know that percocet is oxycodone but I take the immediate release during the day q4h and the regular of one or two tabs at bedtime. I have a bit of background as I am a nurse. When I was in a bad way in 2002-03 I was on Methadone but I certainly want to avoid all this if possible. Right now I want a med that will decrease the pain until I get my new mouthguard that is suppose to help me.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 10/14/2008 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Tmj,
None of us want to be on the meds we're on. We've all had to make some (or are still in the process of making) peace with the trade off. You acknowledge you've tried a lot of things, and they aren't helping as you would like them to. You should consider yourself lucky that you don't have to beg your doctor for more help with pain; many of us struggle to find doctors sympathetic and knowledgeable enough about pain, and willing to prescribe longer acting medications. You may just have to decide how much pain you're willing to tolerate until you get the mouthguard. I wish there were better solutions - for all of us.

PaLady

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 10/14/2008 2:24 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi TMJ,

I had some reeeeally bad TMJ pain some years back - at the time didn't know what it was, dentist thought it was an absess,
sent me to another dentist who thought the same thing, but wasn't sure, sent me to a specialist who was about to do an
abscess surgery through the side of my mouth, but took one more look at the x-rays and realized it was a bad case of TMJ.
The pain was, like you have, temples, jaw, neck, up back of neck, shoulders and very severe - I was in screaming pain.

Since I kept tossing my mouthpiece in the middle of the night, I had to find another avenue. When I was getting physical
therapy for my herniated disc, I told my PT about the TMJ and he gave me some AWESOME stretches to help with the pain.
Hope I can explain them well enough here in words:

1.  Sit comfortably, take a deep breath and let shoulders relax as much as possible.  Nod head to left (don't push it, just as far as it will go towards resting on your shoulder), then slowly look up and off to the left, keeping eyes looking up.  This stretches out the neck muscles like you wouldn't believe.  Again, don't push these, just enough to feel a stretch.  Do the same thing on the right side.

2.  Sit comfortably, or stand, taking deep breath to relax shoulders as much as possible.  Turn your head as far as it will go w/out pushing it to the left.  Take another deep breath, and while breathing out, look down to your left as if trying to look at your toes and hold.  Repeat on the right side. 

They stretch parts of the neck and shoulder that really hurt.  I sure hope this helps.  Whenever I have head, neck or shoulder pain from TMJ or the frozen shoulder I had, I do these exercises.  Just a couple or few times on each side seems to do the trick!  Sorry you're having TMJ issues... I know how much it sucks!

~ Julie O'


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 10/14/2008 3:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Kitty,
These are interesting stretches. I tried them. They're very similar to ones I've used for years, but with a slight twist re: adding the eye movements. They really do help. Just need to do them slowly, and I know a lot of people tend to stretch too much, too hard, or too fast.

thanks for sharing them!

PaLady
p.s. I don't have tmj, but chronic cervical arthritis for a couple of decades, so those on the forum who have been recently talking about their stiff necks might try them - carefully! yeah

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 5:40 PM (GMT -7)   
PAlady said...
Tmj,
None of us want to be on the meds we're on. We've all had to make some (or are still in the process of making) peace with the trade off. You acknowledge you've tried a lot of things, and they aren't helping as you would like them to. You should consider yourself lucky that you don't have to beg your doctor for more help with pain; many of us struggle to find doctors sympathetic and knowledgeable enough about pain, and willing to prescribe longer acting medications. You may just have to decide how much pain you're willing to tolerate until you get the mouthguard. I wish there were better solutions - for all of us.

PaLady
Yes I have tried a lot but I don't believe i need to be in constant pain on a daily basis. I am talking 8/10 on a daily basis. I know there has to be something that can help me. I know I can't continue to do this pain on a daily basis too much longer as I know my body will start to shut down. this is what happened to me in 2001 after suffering for so long. Right now i have lost over 25 pounds and that's from my body starting to shut down. You say I may have to decide how much pain I am willing to tolerate until I get my mouthguard-well I know I can't keep going like this until Dec. for it to start working. and I know none of us want to be on meds. I was only stating my situation asking if anyone might have ideas i hadn't tried or even looking for support. And yes I am lucky to have sympathtic doctors and ones that will help. I live in Canada.
Anyways I did not post just to get shot down. I am just looking for help like the others here.

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 10/14/2008 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for sharing the exercises kitty!! i will give them a try. I am always trying to stretch my neck out as I know those muscles are tight. I have a good massage therapist that I see on a weekly basis.

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 10/14/2008 6:00 PM (GMT -7)   
De nada, tmj,
 
Just remember... slooooOOOOOoooowly so as not to pull a muscle.  I do them very gently and it's
an enormous help.  I hope they work for your TMJ, too!!!!  :-D
 
 

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 10/14/2008 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I think PA Lady was telling you not to feel bad about taking your pain meds because no one on here wants to take them but rather has to take them. I don't think anyone was shooting you down. And when I said I wasn't on pain meds for my TMJ it is because I was never offered any, and because other things worked... for me. I just added them in there in case you hadn't tried them yet; not because I didn't think you should be on pain meds. I hope you find some relief soon.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 10/14/2008 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the support, Fitzy. Tmj, I wasn't trying to shoot you down. I hope you can find some relief. We all wish we could, though, and it's not always possible.

I hope that others can offer you the help and support you're looking for.

PaLady

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2282
   Posted 10/14/2008 8:41 PM (GMT -7)   
idk. maybe you could see if you could get a patch so that you get continuous delivery of the pain med?

i never tried that for the tmj & now mine's under control, but i have tried patches in the past for other conditions & maybe that would help if it can be prescribed for tmj. at least that way you maybe wouldn't be waiting between when one dose wears off & it's time to take the next dose.

just a thought.

tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 12/5/2008 9:03 AM (GMT -7)   
It's been a while since I posted. I have been having a rough go with these headaches. Still constant every minute of every day. I had to go on sick leave as my body went into somewhat of a shut down with this chronic pain. Besides the pain I feel tired every day and just can't seem to do much except little things in the house. It's been six weeks with the new mouthguard and still no change. I will see the specialist on Monday. Perhaps I will need an adjustment to the mouthguard. I could not tolerate the oxycontin and did not hear back from my pain specialist so I am continuing my care with my GP. She knows me well and is aware of my past history with my headaches and having previously gone thru a terrible road with these headaches (was on Methadone etc.)So for now I take a sleeping pill with a muscle relaxant at bedtime so I have a good sleep and can try to tolerate the pain better in the day and when I can't I take Percocet. i am trying to avoid the stronger meds as I just can't seem to tolerate them this time round.
sorry for the lengthy post. I know some here have it worse than I do but it's just so difficult having this head pain on a continuous basis!
I wish you all a great day and that your pain is just a little less. That's all I want. Just a little less pain.
Thanks for listening.
 
Suzane

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 12/5/2008 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   

Hey TMJ,

When I did have a mouthguard, I was told it isn't meant to take care of the pain, but only to protect your teeth from being ground down to nothing -

I was told that from the Specialist I went to way back when.  So the exercises, are they helping?  If not, I'm in total agreement with you (finally - it

took awhile to get to this point) - about not having to have to live in pain every day.  Have you suggested to your doctor some form of tranquilizer?

TMJ is generally caused by nerves, anxiety and the like (can also be caused by being freezing cold, of course), but tranquilizers, i.e., maybe Klonapin

or Xanax, may just help you to relax enough that the grinding/clamping stops altogether.  These are what I take, for among other reasons, TMJ, but

mostly anxiety.  My TMJ problems have gone waaaaaaay down since I started taking anti-anxiety medication.  Have any of the stretches worked at

all?  Also, the pain medication won't get rid of the anxiety, so it's understandable it wouldn't get rid of the severe pain and headaches that TMJ

can cause when it's severe.

 

Wishing you peace and pain-free-ness(?)  is that a word?

 

~ Julie


tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 12/5/2008 9:39 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Julie

I'll take painfreeness!! LOL!! Anything!

Not much is helping at this point. I am sleeping better at night so I can tolerate the pain thru the day better. Usually by 5pm I've had it. I am staying quiet, doing little things in the house. I will go for a walk today outside as it is nicer out. I see the tmj specialist on Monday and he will check the splint to see if any adjustments need to be made. Once this starts to work it should help immensely. Well, put it this way, I have all my hopes in this working because I just can't keep going like this. So I must stay positive and do one day at a time. I am trying to avoid anti-depressants for now and fight this as best as I can. The mouthguard is made specifically to advance the lower jaw as I need more space at the condylar head. Need more time. At the end of each day I say, ok, I am one day closer to feeling better.

 

have a great pain free day all


Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 85
   Posted 12/5/2008 9:44 AM (GMT -7)   
"One day at a time" - that's absolutely right.
 
Okay, so this is a bit off-topic, but my little foster kitten had major eye surgery yesterday
for agenesis of both upper eyelids (no upper eyelids), and she's a suffering little conhead right
now and for the next 2 weeks, but I keep telling her "One day at a time" and "We're one day
closer to getting the stitches out, then no more conehead". 
 
Just thought it was interesting since you're using the same technique!  :-D
 
Or, should I end  >^..^<

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13466
   Posted Today 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Suzane and welcome to HW. I am a little late as usual,lol. I do remember those TMJ headaches and the neck pain. Oh, it was just awful, I do remember that. I had an auto accident that started my problems, I was rear ended and at a stop & hit by a car doing 45 that did not apply his brakes at any time.

This was when they were first playing around with the dx of TMJ problems and few had any knowledge of it. Fortunately, my dentist did and he helped me a great deal. I was in splints both upper & lower for almost 9 months 24/7. Oh, it was awful trying to learn to talk with all that crap in my mouth,lol. Jeez, it seemed like all I did was drool everywhere. He did have to make adjustments in my splints too. Things were really knocked out of alignment. He did have me on muscle relaxers & light pain meds, I remember that. I had exercises to do daily. Over time mine did get somewhat better. However, now when I have dental work, my dentist recommended that 45 minutes prior to my appt to take a muscle relaxer and pain pill. My mouth still does not open fully, it only goes so far and thats it. It makes it very difficult for a dentist to work on me. It also trigger my old TMJ problems if much dental work is done. My dentist retired and this new guy was a little too rough on me and I told him about it. They took over my dentist practice and had all of my records. I told him that trying to pry jaws open that can't is not the correct way to handle a TMJ patient and perhaps he needed to read up on it.

A friend of mine had the TMJ surgery as a last resort. They went in and put screws in her jaw. It was an extremely painful surgery for her, I remember that. Once she recovered she did very well. I remember she had her mouth wired and drank liquids thru a straw for awhile.

I sure hope you get some relief very soon. As you know from previous experience pain can be debilitating at times. Hugs, Susie



FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted Today 11:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Quick question - I am not really a CP person but lurk here because I do have TMJ (as I mentioned above). Do any of you w/ TMJ get ear aches because of it? I recently had a very bad cold and the doc said my left ear was not infected but was swollen shut. Well my TMJ is mostly left sided and had been acting up. It has been weeks and my cold is gone but the ear is still hurting. My jaw is sore and actually has this weird cold sensation. I know I need to get in to my chiro asap. I am also stressed for finals. I don't have a mouth guard but do wear a retainer at night. Just curious if anyone notices a jaw/ear connection.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.


tmjpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2022
   Posted 12/9/2008 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
The ear pain is definitely part of TMJD. I had it right now along with the temporal headaches on a daily basis. Not fun!!
 
Sure hope you feel better soon.
 
How is everyone feeling today? What's your weather like today? I am in Ontario and we are having lots of snow today!!
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